Entries Filed in 'Capitol news'

FairPoint Workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont On Strike

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, October 17th, nearly 2,000 employees of FairPoint Communications (FRP) in northern New England will go on strike. Early Friday morning they will establish picket lines at hundreds of work sites across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

“The company’s actions have brought us to this place,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2327 in Maine. “We did not want to take this step. Our members want to work; they want to take care of their customers. However, our bargaining team worked as hard as we could to reach a fair agreement that would preserve good jobs and help the company prosper. We’ve offered significant concessions to this company that would save them hundreds of millions of dollars. But they absolutely refuse to compromise on any significant issue.”

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Cutler’s selfish approach greatly increases the odds of LePage’s’ re-election

October 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

BY GREG KESICH

Eliot Cutler does not think he’s the best candidate for governor: He thinks he’s the only candidate. Consider this statement he made in May:

“I don’t believe either Mike Michaud or Paul LePage has the skills, temperament or independence to lead Maine and rebuild our economy. I am running to make sure neither is elected and that I am, and I feel confident that on Election Day I will be poised to be Maine’s next governor.”

At the time, that was seen as the windup to a message to his supporters that he would “release” them on Election Day rather than be a spoiler if he thought he couldn’t win, but it should be clear by now that he said what he meant to say.

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Remember Poliquin’s misuse of his position as Treasurer?

October 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

wcaap1-215x300This article should make folks question Bruce Polquin’s integrity. How would he hurt the state;s reputation in D.C.?

Maine State Treasurer Poliquin misuses position for personal gain
Lawmakers press for answers and demand accountability by Poliquin

By Ramona Du Houx – June 5th, 2012 ·

Today lawmakers renewed questions about State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin’s misuse of public resources for his own political gain. On Monday, Poliquin sent an email blast from the state’s computer system, in his role as State Treasurer, contradicting and undermining the findings of the Maine Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) report.

“Mr. Poliquin continues to choose to deflect criticism by pressing forward with unfounded attacks on the Maine State Housing Authority,” said State Senator Phil Bartlett (D-Gorham). “Mr. Poliquin should be focused on his duties as Treasurer instead of teaming up with special interests to use taxpayer money for a political witch hunt. It is time for Mr. Poliquin to look in the mirror and take responsibility for his own actions.”

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Michaud’s response plan to help workers & communities, in Maine mill closures

October 2nd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news

Michaud at New Balance shoes. He helped change a law so that shoes for the U.S. military will be made in U.S.A

Michaud at New Balance shoes. He helped change a law so that shoes for the U.S. military will be made in U.S.A

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud discussed his plans to address a series of paper mill closures that have cost Maine nearly 1,000 jobs in eastern and northern Maine since February.

“I understand first-hand the challenges and fears these workers are facing – because they are the same challenges and fears we are experiencing in my own community, and among my own friends and neighbors. I want to be absolutely clear. We can’t be fixated on the past, but I will never surrender good-paying jobs in towns like East Millinocket, Millinocket, Old Town and Bucksport without a fight,” Michaud said.

“It’s not just the mill jobs themselves that are lost when a shutdown like this occurs. It is estimated that every paper mill job indirectly supports 5-7 additional jobs in the logging, transportation, retail and small business sectors. As governor, my primary focus will be to protect the jobs we have, while diversifying our economy – particularly in rural Maine – so that no one company can put our communities at such risk.”

The Congressman worked for 29 years for Great Northern Paper.

Michaud outlined his plan:

  1. Within the first 30 days of taking office, convene a summit of industrial leaders, mill owners, union leadership, municipal leaders and landowners and representatives from the forest products industry to develop an action plan to revitalize and protect rural manufacturing jobs and address the cost-drivers and challenges currently impacting the paper industry;
  2. Work collaboratively with other New England governors to address the energy problems facing our region, including:
  3. Expansion of natural gas as a transitional fuel, especially for industrial users;
  4. Consideration of ways to address solutions for demand-response throughout New England at the state-level;
  5. Implement new rules and laws that hold private-sector companies accountable for job creation and retention when they accept public resources, including tax breaks and grants, and establish verifiable metrics for economic development programs;
  6. Place a two-year moratorium on changes to BETR and BETE, to provide predictability and stability to Maine’s manufacturing sector and then establish a five-year plan to modernize incentives so that they are sustainable and predictable over the long-term.
  7. Reduce energy costs through long-term contracts for renewable energy while reducing Maine’s reliance on a single fuel source for electricity;
  8. Establish and fund an emergency reserve program to support municipalities in the event of large job losses, plant closures or erosion of the local tax base due to re-evaluation of large, industrial taxpayers to protect other property owners from unanticipated tax spikes.

Michaud also talked about his MAINE MADE plan, which supports key sectors and smart, predictable investments in areas such as roads, rail and bridges, broadband, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Maine must look to the future and help our small businesses to grow and be successful,” Michaud said. “And we must empower and inspire our people to put their big ideas into action.”

In addition, Michaud talked about what he believes is one of the greatest powers of the Governor’s Office.

“The governor has the power to bring people together. On the campaign, I talk about the need to put aside the bitterness and division of the last four years. And that’s critical,” Michaud said. “But what I’m talking about here is the power to actually convene. We’re going to come together in a room and we’re going work on these problems until we have identified a path forward. Under Gov. LePage, that hasn’t happened, and Maine workers are suffering as a result.”

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Millicent M. MacFarland of Augusta passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer

September 28th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Capitol news

The Clerk of the Maine House Hon. Millicent M. MacFarland of Augusta passed away on Saturday surrounded by friends and family after a long courageous battle with cancer. She was 58.

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of the Hon. Millie MacFarland,” said House Speaker Mark Eves. “Millie’s service to the people of Maine and to the Maine House for the past 32 years, including a decade as Clerk of the House, has been marked by the highest standard of professionalism and integrity. Under Democratic and Republican administrations, she served faithfully. Her commitment was always to the people of Maine. In both my tenure as the Speaker and as a member of the Legislature, Millie served as an adviser, a trusted friend, and a teacher to me and to the thousands of legislators that came through the House Chamber under her watch. Her expertise and commitment to public service guided us all. As Clerk, she has been the unsung and quiet steady hand shepherding many of the laws that have shaped our state. We will all miss her at the rostrum, in the House Chamber, and the halls of our great Capitol building.”

MacFarland served the Maine House of Representatives in various capacities for over 30 years, including more than a decade as Clerk of the House, a position she held from 2012-2014 under Speaker Eves, and from December 2000 to December 2010 under prior Speakers.

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Maine Democratic candidates for Legislature rallied today for increased economic opportunity for all

September 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Democratic candidates for the State Legislature rallied today for increased economic opportunity for all Mainers – not just those at the very top. The rally follows the release of new economic numbers that show Maine is lagging behind the nation in job growth and income-levels. According to the August report, Maine ranks 43rd among all states in job recovery, needing to recover 9,400 jobs to return to pre-recession levels. While Maine has only recovered 63 percent of jobs lost during the recession, the United States has recovered 110 percent and New England has recovered 111 percent. The Maine Center for Economic Policy’s analysis also finds that 40,000 Mainers are looking for full-time work and can’t find it.

“Mainers are experiencing our sluggish economic growth firsthand,” said Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland, the Senate assistant majority leader. “Mainers expect leaders who will put job creation ahead of ideology at a time when so many families are struggling. Our governor has left plenty of good jobs on the table, but he’s also had help. Republican legislators caved to Gov. LePage more times than not. They are accomplices in holding our economy back when Mainers need more opportunity–and work.”

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau confirms that incomes are also declining and more Mainers are working just as hard, but for less. In 2013, the median household income in Maine was $46,974. That’s $2,300 below what it was in 2009 when adjusted for inflation.

More than 40 state Senate and House candidates gathered to recount stories from voters in their district and share their vision for change in Augusta.

“What I’m hearing at the doors is that people expect results,” said Democratic candidate for state Senate, Rebecca Cornell du Houx, of Augusta. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that we have a strong economy and economic opportunity for all.”

Democratic candidates have knocked on tens of thousands of doors this campaign season and have heard that Maine’s economy and job growth are the top issues impacting Maine voters.

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Hon. George Mitchell endorses Michaud for Maine governor

September 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine

Sen. George Mitchell at a groundbreaking for an environmentally friendly village development. photo by Ramona du Houx

Sen. George Mitchell at a groundbreaking for an environmentally friendly village development. photo by Ramona du Houx

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the frontrunner in the race for governor, today announced the endorsement of one of Maine’s most senior statesmen, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

“Maine’s next governor will face serious challenges,” said Sen. Mitchell. “I’m confident that Mike’s experience at both the state level – where he chaired the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and presided over an evenly divided Senate – and at the federal level as a ranking member in Congress, make him ideally suited to bring stability to the state budget, tackle the problems facing Maine businesses and restore a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in Augusta.”

Sen. Mitchell served as U.S. Senator from Maine from 1980-1995 and as Senate majority leader from 1989-1995. He played a lead role in negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, serving as U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland under President William Jefferson Clinton and as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Barack Obama. He began his political career serving as executive assistant to Maine Senator Edmond S. Muskie from 1962-1965.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud calls for end to gutter politics amid Maine GOP lies

September 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Mike Michaud in Congress always stood up for the workers of Maine, despite administrations. Courtesy photo

Mike Michaud in Congress always stood up for the workers of Maine, despite administrations. Courtesy photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud set the record straight about recent Maine Republican Party attacks today and denounced the Maine Republican Party’s lies and dirty tactics.

“Nasty, ‘gotcha’ politics like this won’t get the economy moving. I could stand here and rattle off a list of offensive comments Gov. LePage has made, but Mainers deserve better than that,” Michaud said. “Our state cannot tolerate four more years of negativity, of baseless attacks and outright lies.”

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Vice President Biden impressed by Maine’s manufacturing history and potential

September 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Labor issues, Speeches

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone's hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone’s hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard September 3rd with Maine Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, to highlight the history and future of Maine’s manufacturing innovation.

The tour of the 214-year-old Naval Shipyard gave Michaud a chance to share Maine’s shipbuilding history, manufacturing potential, and University of Maine’s “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” initiative, with Biden.

“I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that,” said Biden to more than a 1000 attendees at the shipyard. “And the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.”

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New AARP poll underscores need for policy reforms for rapidly aging state

July 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

A new AARP poll of Mainers underscores the need for policy leaders to focus on keeping seniors in their homes and communities longer.

AARP asked 2,000 Maine voters over the age of 50 about a number of issues affecting their lives. One of the areas of top concern was helping seniors to stay in their own homes as they age. Seventy nine percent of respondents said they were very or extremely likely to vote for a candidate who would work on ensuring Mainers can afford to stay in their homes as they grow older.

“We must overhaul how we think about caring for our seniors to ensure they can stay in their homes and communities longer. Maine people expect leaders to address the challenges facing our aging population,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves, who has a led a statewide aging initiative to create aging-friendly communities across Maine.

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